News roundup - Wednesday, 25 January, until 3pm

Ljubljana, 25 January - Below is a roundup of major events on Wednesday, 25 January, until 3pm local time:

Fajon: Slovenia must think about global challenges

BRDO PRI KRANJU - Global trends in the international community do not paint an optimistic picture, and despite its constraints, Slovenia must also think about global issues, especially as it bids for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon told Slovenian diplomats gathered for their annual two-day meeting. She announced the modernisation of the ministry's strategic documents to "reflect our assessment of the international situation and Slovenia's priorities in foreign policy".

Minister announces busy investment, legislative year for energy sector

LJUBLJANA - Funds for renewables are not a problem, while siting new plants and connecting them to the grid is a challenge, Minister of the Environment, Climate and Energy Bojan Kumer said. He expects 2023 to be a busy year in terms of investments and legislation for the energy sector while pointing out green transition. A bill on siting renewables is in the making and Kumer expects its passage in April or May. He also announced the elimination of some unnecessary consents for connecting new plants to the distribution network, saying this was a major bottleneck.

President and minority MPs discuss health reform

LJUBLJANA - President Nataša Pirc Musar wrapped up her series of talks with representatives of lawmakers by hosting the two MPs representing the Italian or Hungarian minority. The discussion with Felice Žiža and Ferenc Horvath focused on the planned health reform and other current political issues. Pirc Musar, Žiža, who represents the Italian minority in parliament, and Horvath, an MP representing the Hungarian minority, agreed that such meetings were a useful contribution to public debate, the president's office said.

Social care facilities heads demand higher pay as well

LJUBLJANA - Directors of social care institutions have added theirs to a long list of pay demands in the public sector. They want a EUR 700 gross bonus paid out monthly until a public sector pay reform planned by the government is implemented. The Association of Social Care Institution Directors said that they and other management staff wanted higher pay because salary proportions within institutions have been undermined.

Analysis confirms pay disparities in public sector

LJUBLJANA - The government's recent analysis of the single public sector pay system corroborates claims of pay disparities, finding that salary increases have varied across different public sector groups. The number of public sector employees has been rising over the years, which has translated into a growing wage bill. The average gross pay has also risen, from EUR 1,699 in 2008 to EUR 2,264 in the first half of 2022.

Tourist arrivals up nearly 47% to 5.9 million last year

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia recorded 5.87 million tourist arrivals in 2022, a 46.6% increase on the year before. The number of nights rose by 38.5% to 15.59 million, show data released by the Statistics Office. Domestic tourist arrivals reached 1.93 million, down 11% compared to 2021, while foreign tourist arrivals rose by 114.8% to 3.9 million. Nights by domestic guests fell by 14.7%, while those by visitors from abroad rose by 100.2% to almost 10.1 million.

Business sentiment drops again in January

LJUBLJANA - After going up slightly at the end of last year, business sentiment in Slovenia dropped once again in January, with the relevant index down on both the monthly and yearly levels, by 1.5 and 6.3 percentage points, respectively, fresh data from the Statistics Office show. On the monthly level, the drop can be ascribed to lower consumer confidence (down by 0.8 points), and the outlook also deteriorating in services (-0.5 points), retail and the construction industry (both down 0.2 points).

Slovenian researchers win award for treating dog dementia

LJUBLJANA - Urban Košak from the Faculty of Pharmacy in Ljubljana and his team have received an award at the prestigious Biofit event, focused on early-stage innovations in life sciences held in Marseille, for developing a new drug to alleviate the symptoms of dementia in dogs. The researchers developed a new selective inhibitor of butyrylcholinesterase, a substance that can affect brain processes, and improve memory, cognitive functions and learning abilities.

Comic book tells story of Nazi massacre

LJUBLJANA - A comic book set at the end of World War II in the mountains of the Austrian province of Carinthia presented at the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts attempts to raise awareness about one of the last Nazi crimes against the Slovenian minority in Austria. The book by Evelyn Steinthaler, whose grandmother was Slovenian, tells the story of a Nazi murder of eleven civilians, including seven children, on the Peršman farm in the mountains above Eisenkappel.

Mild winters not sparing Bloke Plateau, cradle of skiing in Central Europe

BLOKE - The Bloke Plateau in south-west Slovenia, in the past known for fierce winters and described by some as the cradle of skiing in Central Europe, is another case testifying to the impact of climate change. The average winter temperature recorded at Bloke in the period from 1991 to 2021 was -1.1 degrees Celsius, compared to -2.4 in 1951 to 1981.

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